Huntingdonshire District Council is to begin work on a temporary car park extension for Priory Park. The newly extended car par will accommodate space for an additional 20+ vehicles, supporting the use of the park which as seen attendance increase vastly since the beginning of lockdown.

Visitors to the park currently are often having to find alternative parking elsewhere, away from the park. In collaboration with the monitoring of car park use from the Parking Services team, this solution will be put in place to allow for the greater number of visitors that the park is seeing. The temporary car park construction began today and consists of fencing, marked bays on the grass area identified and a gate to the current car park to protect the ground in case of inclement weather.

Cllr Marge Beuttell, Executive Councillor for Operations and Environment, said: "It is fantastic that our parks and open spaces have been extremely popular over the last several months, and we needed to do something that allowed it to continue for the ease of residents.

"We have seen a spike in outdoor gym sessions, now allowed to use the park’s space for free until April 2021, and therefore because demand is so high a temporary car park extension is the right call, and most importantly, backed and supported by the Priory Park Friends Group."

Helen Lewis, Secretary of Priory Park Friends Group, said: "COVID-19 which has had a huge impact on our daily lives and mental wellbeing and having access to an open space has now become an important part of everyday life. As a Group we are thrilled to see that Priory Park has suddenly taken on a new dimension and come alive! Once thought of as just an open space to walk your dog or host to the local football league, it’s now a bustling hub for daily exercise, a crucial meeting point for people from different households and with the lifting of certain restrictions an excellent location for larger group gatherings and outdoor exercise classes. However, with the increase of visitors parking has become an issue and HDC plans to expand the parking facilities is fantastic addition."

As part of the Healthy Open Space Strategy that is being produced, we would like to enhance the facilities on-site and this temporary measure would provide a pilot approach to see how well a formal car park extension would be received by residents and park users.